Nine whole months can seem like an eternity to wait for your unborn baby. Why not use this time to bond with your bub before it's born?
Not only does communicating with your unborn baby help you prepare for motherhood - it's a great way to pass time in your pregnancy. When actively stimulating and communicating baby while they're in the womb, you're not only bonding with your baby, you're preparing them for what's awaiting them in the real world.
Venezuelan clinical psychologist, Dr. Beatriz Manrique, studied the effect of pre and post-natal stimulation on babies. According to this research, babies who were stimulated with touch and sound in the womb appeared to be more alert at birth, had better head control and were able to turn their heads in the direction of their parent's voices.
Manrique's research suggests that communicating with your unborn baby while pregnant is not just about forming a bond but also about affecting their social and emotional states at birth.
Forming a healthy attachment to your unborn baby is something that can be achieved through the course of your normal day, using any of the following stimulating techniques:
Get talking to your baby
Since babies can recognise the voices of their parents when they are born, saying good morning and good night to your baby each day is a good habit to get into. Sharing your feelings and thoughts with your unborn child can also help to 'humanize' your growing belly.
Play music or sing to your bump
Babies begin hearing by the 18th week of pregnancy, so singing lullabies to your baby is a tradition you can start before they are born and continue once you have given birth. Many expectant parents play classical music to their unborn babies as it can have a very calming effect on them.
Massage your pregnant belly
An effective way to introduce your baby to the outside world is by giving your bump a regular, gentle massage while pregnant. Babies will often respond to your touch by kicking the place you just massaged or by changing positions.
Visualise your baby, meditate or try yoga
It's worth taking a few minutes every day to relax and just visualise yourself holding your new baby. Imagine what he or she might look like and what you might say to them. Taking pre-natal yoga classes is a great way to help you relax. Most pre-natal yoga will include some kind of visualisation or meditation exercise within the class.
Get an ultrasound and see your baby
Being able to watch baby moving around on the screen is a very practical way of bonding with bump. It makes everything seem more real! This is an especially good way for fathers and grandparents to form an attachment to the baby. Take home the pictures from the ultrasound and put them somewhere you will see them every day on the fridge or next to the telephone!
It's never too early or too late to start communicating and bonding with your baby. Parenting is a journey that really begins the moment you find out you are pregnant.
This article was written by Jo Harris for Birth, Australia's best pregnancy, labour and birth resource. Sources include Birth Psychology.
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Last revised: Friday, 11 April 2014
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.